An Introduction to Life on the Road
Most of you are probably already aware of my recent move across the Tasman Sea. Lucas and I quit our jobs at the end of February in search of a slower paced, minimalist lifestyle. Looking for a chance to reconnect with nature and ourselves.
One of the first conversations Lucas and I had when we first met was about going to New Zealand and travelling around in a van. We didn’t think too much about it at the time as we weren’t even ‘official’ yet, but it was definitely a dream for both of us. A few adventures and some minor setbacks later, we booked a one way ticket to New Zealand. We knew we had to be there by March because we had committed to a multiday hike with my Mum, so when I found a one way ticket for $180, we jumped on it. That’s the thing about dreams, they stay dreams until you do something about them. You work hard, you make the scary decisions, you take the jump.
(I wrote a blog post about taking jumps on my old website which doesn’t exist anymore unfortunately, so I reposted it on here for anyone looking for some inspo to get outside your comfort zone)
We needed a van - middle of the range so it was comfortable enough to live in for a year but not too fancy it blew the budget. Lucas spent many nights online before we left researching and getting an idea of what was out there. We flew into Christchurch 4 days before Mum arrived so we could sort ourselves out, find a van, organise insurance, bank accounts, general adult things. We were lucky that Lucas’ hard work paid off as we picked up a van on our first day and named her Rove.
rove : “Travel constantly without a fixed destination; wander.”
Our first night in the van was as expected, uncomfortable and a little awkward. We were so new to this and our campsite was filled with vanlifers who had been doing this (or looked like they had been) a little longer than we had, but everyone has to start somewhere. I remember looking over sheepishly to a girl in the van next to us, she was sorting her clothes and organising the van. I remember my clear thoughts as I watched her – ‘I can’t wait to be there’ but I could wait, the journey to comfort is the most exciting part! Each day got easier and each night we got to bed a little earlier. With a couple of small additions and fantastic tetris skills later, everything we owned and needed fit into our tiny home on wheels.
That was the easy part, we soon learnt that to open a bank account you need a proof of New Zealand address. That means you need a formal letter with your name on it sent to your address and then take said letter into a bank to open an account. How do you get a letter sent to a permanent address when your house does not have a permanent address and you are about to embark on a 2 week road trip with your Mum, did I hear you ask? With great difficulty. New Zealand forcing me to use my problem solving skills as soon as I got here! Luckily, problem solving is one of my strengths and I enjoy the challenge. 3 weeks later, we opened bank accounts and received our bank cards in the mail, Hooray!
Our first 4 days were busy as we figured things out, Mum and Tracey arrived and our next 2 weeks were non-stop as we travelled around the South Island, top to bottom, fitting in as much as we could for us to see. Quick shout out to Mum – Thank you for all of the research and effort you put in to organising our road trip because I definitely hadn’t thought of a single thing. Our time with them also included a 4 day hike through the Milford Track. An incredible experience that I will talk more about in a separate post.
Following the hike, we celebrated my 26th birthday in Queenstown where we enjoyed burgers, ciders and beers. And that was it, my body had, had enough. Late nights, early-ish mornings, cooler weather, quick meals and minimal yoga left my immune system weak. I was tired and like always my body knew just how to tell me. No amount of olive leaf and ginger-lemon- honey teas were going to stop this cold from making an appearance. Mum and Tracey flew home, so we set ourselves up at Moke Lake for 2 nights to slow down and disconnect. No reception made that very easy! We slept in, watched movies, ate vegetables and patted the neighbouring horse residents. I even rolled my mat out for the first time since being here, ahhh, just what I needed!
Now we are heading south-east eventually reaching Dunedin for a concert Lucas gifted me for my birthday! There are so many little towns with quirky spots to stop along the way, some are free with minimal (if any) facilities, some are cheap with everything you need. I’m feeling like we are slowly getting the hang of this van life thing – excited to see where this road takes us.
If you would like to follow our journey a little more closely you can follow me on Instagram @wholesome.han
Love Han, x